Model 38 Cavalry Rifle



Picture number M38Sh000 (picture courtesy of Earl Battey) This Model 38 short rifle is quite rare; it is a Kokura 20th series Model 38 rifle that was modified to the short rifle configuration. Only about 20,000 20th series Model 38s were made. According to Fred Honeycutt in Military Rifles of Japan, no matching examples have been found. Doss White knows of 3 - this is one of them. It matches on serial number (#43274). It would appear to be a factory matched gun and not one that was made to match when it was converted to the short rifle configuration at the Nagoya Chigusa factory.

Doss White writes (13 December 2000): "The Chinese shortened a large number of Model 38 rifles in the manner of the Japanese Model 38 Cavalry rifle (Collectors term 38 short rifle). The barrel was cut and turned to a smaller diameter so the original sight could be used. The turning left a "step" behind the sight, the step delineates the turned diameter from the original diameter. Many of these Chinese-shortened rifles were also converted to cal. 7.62 x 39. However, some were left in the Japanese 6.5 mm caliber. All observed Chinese shortened rifles used the original stock and the spring 'holding' the rear band was relocated. The original spring groove was either filled with a wood insert or left open. Japanese Model 38 cavalry rifles are in much better condition than their Chinese conterparts. Condition and the presence of a filled or open spring groove differentiate the Japanese and Chinese shortened rifles."



Picture number M38Sh005 (picture courtesy of Earl Battey) This picture shows the shortened forend.



Picture number M38Sh010 (picture courtesy of Earl Battey) In order to move the front band back, the barrel needed to be turned down to a smaller diameter. Note the distinct barrel step just to the left of the band in the above picture.


Return To Rifle Primer